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TO THE U.I. II KOREA
A YEAR OF COLLECTIVE ACTION
DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLICATION 4299
FAR EASTERN SERIES 47 . . . RELEASED AUGUST 1951
DIVISION OF PUBLICATIONS . OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government
Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C. — Price 15 cents
The U. N. Is Informed of an Aggression 6
The 38th Parallel and the Republic of Korea . . . . 7
The U. N. Gets the Korean Problem 10
The U. N. Acts 11
The Resolution of June 27 12
The U. N. Takes Military Action 15
The Dark Days 18
The Battle Picture Changes 19
Chinese Communists Enter the Conflict 22
Cease-Fire Attemps — That Failed 25
The Aggressor Named 28
U. S. and U. N. Objectives 29
United Nations in Korea: Soldiers of four member nations stand
before the U.N. flag — an Australian, an American, a South
Korean, a Filipino.
IN July 1951 military representatives of the
United Nations, Communist China, and the North Korean regime
began a series of conferences to discuss an armistice in the year-old
Korean conflict. During the year of this conflict much has hap-
pened — on the battlefront, in the councils of the United Nations, in
the seats of governments all over the world, and, most important, in
the minds of men.
The citizens of the United States have read and listened to mil-
lions of words on the Korean conflict — on everything from detailed
reports of the fighting to hair-splitting arguments both within indi-
vidual governments and in the United Nations. The detailed reports
are important; so, perhaps, are the hair-splittings. But it is easy
for the average person to lose his way, to wander down a side road
of military logistics, or one concerned with a particular policy of a
particular nation, or many a side road affecting political and
economic factors of scores of countries.
Thus, the purpose of this guide: To take the reader down the
broad highway of U. N. action in Korea; to look at the record,
step by step; to review the extraordinary burdens a group of nations
assumed — for the first time in the history of man — to uphold the
principle that the peace of all depends on checking an aggressive
assault against a single country. Over and above the strains and
battles of ideas, the conflicting methods and approaches, the shifts
in thinking, and the fortunes and misfortunes of the battlefield, the
U. N. story in Korea remains a simple one: a collective action to
stop an aggressor.
It is this basic fact — and the corollary selfish one that a fire
running wild next door may well leap into your own domain —
which is sometimes lost sight of as we all add and subtract the multi-
tudinous currents of contemporary history- But the year-long road
of facts of the United Nations in Korea, despite the twists and turns
and distracting side roads, is broad and well lighted.
the U. N. is informed
of an aggression
LITTLE better than one year ago, at 3 o'clock
in the morning of June 25, 1950, the telephone rang in the New York
suburban home of U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie. On the
other end of the line was the U.S. Deputy Representative to the
United Nations with an urgent message: From the American Am-
bassador to the Republic of Korea, the U.S. Department of State had
received information that North Korean forces had invaded the
territory of the Korean Republic.
It was thus, from an early-morning telephone call, that the United
Nations was first officially informed that an act of aggression had
The report from Korea upon which the telephone message was
based was sharp, factual: "According to Korean Army reports . . .
North Korean forces invaded Republic of Korea territory at several
points this morning. . . . Ongjin was blasted. . . . North Korean
infantry commenced crossing the [38th] parallel . . . amphibious
landing was reportedly made south of Kangnung on the east coast.
Kaesong was reportedly captured. . . . North Korean forces,
spearheaded by tanks, are reportedly closing in on Chunchon. De-
tails of the fighting in the Kangnung area are unclear. . . ."
Then, in a short summary sentence, the report from Korea con-
cluded: "It would appear from the nature of the attack and the
manner in which it was launched that it constitutes an all-out offen-
sive against the Republic of Korea."
On the basis of this serious report the United States requested,
in a formal note which followed the telephone call, that this message
be brought "to the immediate attention of the President of the United
Nations Security Council." The United States considered the as-
sault upon the Republic of Korea as a breach of the peace and an
act of aggression, and thus the prime business of a world organization
dedicated to world peace.
The United Nations moved promptly. At 2 o'clock in the after-
noon of the same day the Security Council was called to order.
Meantime, however, the United Nations had before it a report on
Korea from one of its own commissions — the United Nations Com-
mission on Korea. This report — direct from Seoul — gave much
the same information which had been received in Washington some
hours previous, then added,
"At 17:15 hrs. four Yak-type aircraft strafed civilian and mil-
itary air fields outside Seoul destroying planes, firing gas tanks and
attacking jeeps. Yongdungpo railroad station on outskirts also
"Commission wishes to draw attention of Secretary-General to
serious situation developing which is assuming character of full-
scale war and may endanger the maintenance of international peace
Now the United Nations had before it two reports — one from a
member nation, the other from a U.N. commission itself — which
told that on a large peninsula jutting out from the northeast coast
of Asia, on which lived about 30 million people, the peace had been
shattered by armed and organized forces. It was time to act — and
the 38th parallel and
the republic of Korea
BEFORE relating U.N. actions, first, to bring
about a withdrawal of the attacker and, when this failed, to meet his
force with force, it might be well to take a look at Korea itself and
the factors which brought about that most talked-of geographic mark-
ing — the 38th parallel.
The 38th parallel, as a demarcation line, came into being as a
simple military expedient. At the end of World War II it was
Y E LLOW
decided that Japanese troops north of the 38th parallel would sur-
render to Soviet forces and those south of that line would surrender
to United States forces. That was all. There was nothing in any
records anywhere to indicate that Korea was to be divided into
two parts. In 1943, at the Cairo conference, and again in the sum-
mer of 1945, at the Potsdam meeting, it was quite definitely agreed
that, in due course, Korea would be a free and independent country.
Those who so agreed: China, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and
the United States.
Yet, almost immediately after Japanese troops surrendered in
Korea, the Soviet military command arbitrarily decided that the
38th parallel was a permanent line separating two military zones.
The U.S. military command in southern Korea tried repeatedly to
negotiate arrangements, all aimed at establishing the unity of the
country, but could get nothing but a deaf ear from the Soviet military.
Thus matters stood until December 1945. Then at a Foreign
Ministers meeting in Moscow the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union,
and the United States agreed that a provisional Korean democratic
government should be set up for all of Korea. To this end it was
decided that the Soviet and U.S. military commands in Korea were
to form a Joint Commission which, with Korean democratic parties
and social organizations, was to make recommendations to the Big
Four powers for an all-Korean government-
The U.S. command's attempts to get the Soviet Union to agree
to some method to consolidate North and South Korea constitute a
high mark in frustration. Time and time again the Soviet members
of the Joint Commission blocked the planning for practical action.
After nearly 2 years of effort all the U. S. command and the members
of the Commission could get the Soviet Union to agree to was a
spotty exchange of mail between North and South Korea.
the U. N. gets the
IT was at this point that the United States, con-
vinced that direct negotiations with the Soviet Union were futile,
laid the whole Korean problem before the United Nations.
"Today the independence of Korea," said the U.S. message, "is
no further advanced than it was two years ago. Korea remains
divided. . . . There is little or no exchange of goods or services
between the two zones. Korea's economy is thus crippled. . . .
"It is therefore the intention of the United States Government to
present the problem of Korean independence to this session of the
General Assembly. Although we shall be prepared to submit sug-
gestions as to how the early attainment of Korean independence
might be effected, we believe that this is a matter which now requires
the impartial judgment of the other members. We do not wish
to have the inability of two powers to reach agreement delay any
further the urgent and rightful claims of the Korean people to
That was on September 17, 1947. The subsequent history of
how the United Nations took on the problem of Korea; how its
representatives were denied entry north of the 38th parallel; the
supervision of free elections in the southern zone ; the establishment
of the Republic of Korea with seats reserved for 100 representatives
from the North as soon as elections could be held under the observa-
tion of a U.N. Commission; the approval of the new Republic by
the United Nations and its recognition by more than 30 countries —
all this has been told before.
Thus the Republic of Korea was not only the legal government
of the Korean people; it was created under the auspices of the
Korea remained divided. The United Nations, continuing its
efforts, kept a commission in Korea working toward erasing that
artificial line and uniting the country. But this U.N. commission
could make little headway. Its representatives were not even
allowed to cross the 38th parallel, north of which there had been
established a regime called the "Democratic People's Republic of
Korea" — a government formed by a mere transfer of power from
Soviet occupation authorities. "Elections" — if any occurred —
were never allowed to be observed by United Nations representatives.
the U. N. acts
THUS, in brief, stood matters in Korea on
June 25, 1950, when the Security Council met at 2 o'clock in the
afternoon with those two fateful messages before it.
The United States promptly introduced a resolution for the
Council's consideration. This resolution was revised, amended,
cast into final form, and then passed by a vote of 9-0, with one
member (Yugoslavia) not voting and another being absent. (The
absent member was the Soviet Union, which had boycotted Security
Council meetings since the previous January.)
The main points of this important U.N. resolution were:
The Republic of Korea was attacked by forces from North Korea;
this action "constitutes a breach of the peace."
A call for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the with-
drawal "forthwith" of all North Korean forces to the 38th
At the same time the resolution requested the U.N. Commission
on Korea to report its recommendations on the situation and observe
the withdrawal and also called upon all members of the United Na-
tions to give every assistance "in the execution of this resolution
and to refrain from giving assistance to the North Korean
During the next 2 days further reports from the U.N. Commission
on Korea were received at U.N. headquarters. The following ex-
cerpts tell the story:
"For the past two years the North Korean regime has by violently
abusive propaganda, by threatening gestures along the 38th parallel
and by encouraging and supporting subversive activities in the ter-
ritory of the Republic of Korea pursued tactics designed to weaken
and destroy the Government of the Republic of Korea established
under the auspices of the United Nations Temporary Commission
on Korea and recognized by the General Assembly. During the
same period the United Nations Commission on Korea has been the
target for repeated propaganda broadcasts which denied its legality,
dubbed it futile, and subjected its individual members to abuse.
This campaign has been relentlessly pursued during the past 8
months. . . ."
"Commission met this morning 1000 hours and considered latest
reports on hostilities and results direct observation along parallel
by Uncok Military Observers over period ending 48 hours before
hostilities began. Commission's present view on basis this evidence
is, first, that judging from actual progress of operations Northern
regime is carrying out well-planned, concerted, and full-scale inva-
sion of South Korea, second, that South Korean forces were deployed
on wholly defensive basis in all sectors of the parallel, and, third,
that they were taken completely by surprise as they had no
reason to believe from intelligence sources that invasion was
imminent. . . ."
"North Korean advances have created dangerous situation with
possibilities of rapid deterioration. Impossible estimate situation
which will exist tomorrow in Seoul. In view Commission's past
experience and existing situation Commission convinced North
Korea will not heed Council resolution nor accept Uncok good
the resolution of June 27
ON June 27, after the Korean Republic ap-
pealed directly to the United Nations for assistance, the U. S.
delegate, Warren R. Austin, spoke to his colleagues:
"It is clear that the authorities in North Korea have completely
disregarded and flouted the decision of the Security Council. The
armed invasion of the Republic of Korea continues. This is, in
fact, an attack on the United Nations itself. . . .
"It is difficult to imagine a more glaring example of disregard
for the United Nations and for all the principles which it represents.
The most important provisions of the Charter are those outlawing
aggressive war. It is precisely these provisions which the North
Korean authorities have violated.
"It is the plain duty of the Security Council to invoke stringent
sanctions to restore international peace. . . ."
To restore that peace the United Nations that very afternoon —
June 27, 1950 — passed a resolution, a resolution which tells the
whole story. Here it is in full:
"The Security Council,
"Having determined that the armed attack upon the Republic of
Korea by forces from North Korea constitutes a breach of the peace,
"Having called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and
"Having called upon the authorities of North Korea to with-
draw forthwith their armed forces to the 38th parallel, and
"Having noted from the report of the United Nations Commis-
sion for Korea that the authorities in North Korea have neither
ceased hostilities nor withdrawn their armed forces to the 38th
parallel and that urgent military measures are required to restore
international peace and security, and
"Having noted the appeal from the Republic of Korea to the
United Nations for immediate and effective steps to secure peace
"Recommends that the Members of the United Nations furnish
such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to
repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and
security in the area."
Events continued to move swiftly. The United States, after the
first U.N. resolution and after a direct appeal from the Republic
of Korea, had authorized Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo to
furnish the already hard pressed South Korean troops with military
supplies. This was followed by orders to give the Korean Gov-
ernment forces air and sea cover and support.
Now, with the second important resolution, the U.N. Secretary-
General dispatched urgent calls to all members of the United Nations
asking to be advised of what type of assistance they were prepared
to furnish to help a nation under the attack of an aggressor.
Fifty-three member nations, amidst popular acclaim throughout
the free world, approved the Security Council's recommendations.
Of the fifty-six nations which responded to the Council only three
refused to go along with this great majority. These three were, of
course, the Soviet Union and her satellites, Czechoslovakia and
The United States advised the United Nations that air components
were ordered into action against military targets in North Korea,
that her navy was to blockade the entire Korean coast; and on June
30 she announced that certain supporting ground troops were to go
into action with South Korean forces.
Other U.N. members responded with pledges of aid ranging from
fighting aircraft to foodstuffs. Some examples :
Australia — aircraft and naval vessels
Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the Netherlands —
Denmark — medical supplies
India — field ambulance
Norway — transportation tonnage
The Philippines — food, vaccines, and other supplies
Chile — copper and other strategic materials
Sweden — field hospital unit
Thailand — foodstuffs
The United Nations itself, as an organization, had no forces to
combat the North Korean aggressor. The establishment of such
forces had long ago been blocked by Soviet intransigence. Now
the need for swift action was imperative to prevent the Republic
of Korea from being overrun by the aggressive troops from the north.
The Soviet Union, however, bluntly called the U.N. action on
Korea illegal on two counts: One, the Soviet Union's absence when
the vote was taken constituted a veto. Two, China's delegate had
no legal right to vote since he did not represent the Communist
government which, the U.S.S.R. delegate claimed, was the legal
government of China.
The first count was answered by simply quoting the record. Prec-
edent definitely showed that abstention from voting did not con-
stitute a veto. Frequently the Soviet Union itself had abstained
from voting on a "substantive" matter, but the legality of the Security
Council's action had not been questioned — by Soviet Russia or any
other member. Moreover, the U.S. delegate made it plain that
the work of the Security Council should not be paralyzed by
As to the legality of the vote of the Nationalist Government of
China, the record was equally clear. The credentials of the Chinese
delegate had been approved by the Council itself, despite the
Russians' attempt to have that approval withdrawn.
As a further step, the United States asked Moscow to "use its
influence with the North Korean authorities to withdraw their in-
vading forces immediately."
Moscow's answer to this was to charge that the Republic of Korea,
not the North Korean forces, had started hostilities and to declare,
furthermore, that the Soviet Union would not interfere in the internal
problems of other states. This was Moscow's answer despite the
factual reports of the U. N. Commission on Korea — direct from
Seoul — to the Secretary-General which proved that the Soviet posi-
tion was utterly false and could have been taken only for propaganda
the U. N. takes
UNDER a resolution introduced by Great
Britain, the United Nations on July 7 voted to ask the United States
to take on the Unified Command of the world organization's col-
lective effort to put down the Korean aggression. The U.S. Gov-
ernment promptly accepted the responsibility, and President Truman
gave the post of Commanding General to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Meantime what were now the U.N. forces in Korea fought val-
iantly to check the powerful military drive of the North Koreans.
But all that could be accomplished at this stage was a delaying action,
beginning a period of planned withdrawals.
Back in the U.N. New York headquarters on August 1, the Soviet
Union's delegate, Jacob Malik, took over the chairmanship of the
Security Council. (This is a rotating post.) A prime reason for
Malik's return was to try to undo actions the United Nations had
taken to put down the North Korean aggressor. Malik began a
marathon of invective, aimed principally at the United States.
Malik's vituperation was, of course, understandable. Here was
the representative of a Communist empire which was bent on world
conquest. A principal move in the extension of that empire's hold-
ings was to take over Korea — all of Korea. With the North Koreans
as puppets, international communism took to the sword. But then
something happened that the masters of communism didn't figure
on: the United Nations acted, for the first time, to meet force with
force. All necessary Security Council action had been taken before
Malik returned from his self-imposed absence. Thus checked,
Malik, as chief spokesman in the United Nations for communism,
was reduced to invective and the colossal lie.
Then Malik, as Council chairman, managed a procedural tie-up
of much of the Council's business during this crucial month. Work-
ing under orders from his Government in Moscow, Malik attempted
to label the United States as the real aggressor in Korea.
Yet every single delegate in the United Nations knew that one
gesture from Moscow, and the fighting in Korea would stop.
U.S. delegate Warren Austin, in a speech before the Council,
put it thus :
"The United States has no designs on Korea as a military base,
as has been asserted. Events have proved that. We hope some
day to see it agreed that no great power will try to dominate a unified
Korea. There would be no United States troops — no forces of any
of the other United Nations — in Korea today if the North Korean
-, ' ,:'",:. ■ ,- • ■'.
United Nations troops bombard a Communist-held post with
authorities had exercised that restraint which the Soviet Union was
in a position to suggest to them.
"// now the Soviet Union would exercise its influence, the breach
of the peace would be ended forthwith. If now the Soviet Union
would decide to respect the independence of its neighbors and live
in true friendliness with the rest of the world, if it would prove its
words by deeds, the fear that now grips the world would disappear.
If that were done, the United Nations then could concentrate its entire
efforts on bettering the lot of mankind and waste less of its energies
and resources in coping with situations such as that which we face
the dark days
WHILE the Soviet delegate continued his tirade
against the United States and the West, the month of August 1950
was a dark one for U.N. troops on the battlefields of Korea. Strug-
gling to keep from being enveloped by onrushing North Korean
troops, U.N. forces traded space for time and slowly fell back to
the small, tight perimeter of Pusan, that vital seaport on the southern
tip of the Korean Peninsula.
At U.N. headquarters the Soviet Delegation continued to propose
resolutions (all overwhelmingly rejected) naming the Republic of
Korea and the United States as the aggressors. This was being
done even in the face of the hard facts which the United Nations'
own Commission was then reporting from Korea. Said one such
". . . the Commission is unanimously of the opinion that no
offensive could possibly have been launched across the parallel by
the Republic of Korea. ... It is the considered opinion of the
Commission that this planning and preparation [of North Korean
forces] were deliberate, and an essential part of the policy of the
North Korean authorities. The objective of this policy was to
secure by force what could not be gained by any other means. . . ."
The dark days continued on into September. To many it looked
as if the U.N. troops would be forced to abandon Korea. In the
Security Council the Soviet delegate kept up a steady drum-fire of
accusation against the Republic of Korea, introduced resolutions
accusing the American air forces of "barbarous" bombings, and
proposed other resolutions calling for the withdrawal of all foreign
troops from Korea. These latter resolutions, of course, were to
assure complete Communist control of the country.
President Truman, in a major foreign-policy speech, told the
American people and the world just what U.S. troops were doing
in Korea and what were American objectives in Asia. Key points
of the speech were:
"We believe in the United Nations. When we ratified its Charter,
we pledged ourselves to seek peace and security through this world
organization. We kept our word when we went to the support of
the United Nations in Korea two months ago. We shall never go
back on that pledge. . . .
"We believe the Koreans have a right to be free, independent, and
united — as they want to be.
"We do not want the fighting in Korea to expand into a general
war. . . .
"We hope in particular that the people of China will not be mis-
led or forced into fighting against the United Nations. . . .
"We do not want Formosa or any part of Asia for ourselves. . . .
"We believe in freedom for all the nations of the Far East. . . .
"We do not believe in aggressive or preventive war. . . .
"We want peace and we shall achieve it. . . ."
the battle picture changes
ON September 19 the battle picture abruptly
and dramatically changed. In a bold maneuver General MacArthur
took a large task force of U.N. war vessels and troop ships up the
west coast of Korea and effected a successful landing at Inchon,
just a few miles from Seoul. Within 10 days the Government of
the Republic of Korea was back in its capital city.
From then on U.N. forces continued successfully to destroy the
fighting power of the North Korean forces. Meantime the Unified
Command was busy planning the vast, back-breaking task of caring
for the civilian population of Korea — the men, women and children
who were forced to flee from their homes and suffer incredible
hardships because, cruelly and unwarrantedly, warfare had been
brought into their lives.
In the council rooms of the U.N. headquarters 10,000 miles away
from Korea, the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union took the U.N.
rostrum. Events in Korea, he declared, can be described only
as a civil war between two temporary government camps, and
therefore the Charter provisions in regard to aggression are
With the aggressor in Korea apparently on the verge of defeat,
the United Nations promptly turned to the task of setting up the
machinery for restoration of peace in a unified Korea. To this
end the United Nations on October 7 adopted an important
resolution recommending that:
"(a) All appropriate steps be taken to ensure conditions of
stability throughout Korea;
"(b) All constituent acts be taken, including the holding of
elections, under the auspices of the United Nations, for the establish-
ment of a unified, independent and democratic Government in the
sovereign State of Korea;
"(c) All sections and representative bodies of the population of
Korea, South and North, be invited to cooperate with the organs of
the United Nations in the restoration of peace, in the holding of
elections and in the establishment of a unified Government;
"(d) United Nations forces should not remain in any part of
Korea otherwise than so far as necessary for achieving the objectives
specified in subparagraphs (a) and (b) above;
"(e) All necessary measures be taken to accomplish the economic
rehabilitation of Korea. . . ."
i*. ^p^.. «•'
Warfare disrupted the lives of Korean civilians. This orphan
climbs aboard one of 15 U.S. planes used to evacuate 1,000
children from Seoul to southern Korea.
The United Nations also resolved that:
"(a) A Commission consisting of Australia, Chile, Netherlands,
Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Turkey, to be known as the
United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation
of Korea, be established to (i) assume the functions hitherto exer-
cised by the present United Nations Commission in Korea; (ii) rep-
resent the United Nations in bringing about the establishment of a
unified, independent and democratic government of all Korea; (iii)
exercise such responsibilities in connexion with relief and reha-
bilitation in Korea as may be determined by the General Assembly
after receiving" the recommendations of the Economic and Social
Council. The United Nations Commission for the Unification and
Rehabilitation of Korea should proceed to Korea and begin to carry
out its functions as soon as possible. . . ."
enter the conflict
DURING the closing days of October 1950
there was every indication that soon peace would return to the 30
million people of Korea and, with this peace, a danger to world
security would have been wiped out.
But as the first days of November dawned, this hope diminished.
From Unified Command headquarters in Seoul came this message:
"Chinese Communist forces in significant strength have moved
across the Yalu River and attacked United Nations forces. This
constitutes an act of international lawlessness far exceeding that of
mere brigandage. The course of operations of United Nations
forces in Korea has in consequence changed from that of pursuit
of defeated and routed North Korean army remnants to that of a
new campaign against a fresh enemy force."
The fresh enemy force was, of course, Communist China. Over-
Civilians line the bank of the Han River, near Seoul, fleeing
before the Chinese Communists.
whelmed by sheer number of troops, U.N. forces were to face their
darkest moments to date.
In the Security Council a resolution was proposed noting the
grave situation brought on by Chinese Communist intervention and
insisting that no action be taken "which might lead to the spread
of the Korean conflict to other areas and thereby further endanger
international peace and security." The proposal also stated that
"it is the policy of the United Nations to hold the Chinese frontier
with Korea inviolate and fully to protect legitimate Chinese and
Korean interests in the frontier zone. . . ." The vote on this U.N.
resolution was 9 to 1 in favor, but it was killed by the Soviet Union's
Thus the United Nations, from the very beginning of the Chinese
Communist intervention, went to full lengths to assure the regime
in Peiping and the Chinese people that they need have no fears that
Chinese territory would be violated. This same assurance came
a few days later from President Truman, speaking for the U. S.
"I can give assurance," he said, "that we support and are acting
within the limits of the United Nations policy in Korea, and that
we have never at any time entertained any intention to carry hostili-
ties into China. So far as the United States is concerned, I wish to
state unequivocally that because of our deep devotion to the cause
of world peace and our long-standing friendship for the people of
China we will take every honorable step to prevent any extension
of the hostilities in the Far East. If the Chinese Communist authori-
ties or people believe otherwise, it can only be because they are being
deceived by those whose advantage it is to prolong and extend
hostilities in the Far East against the interest of all Far Eastern
people. . . ."
Shortly afterward, a representative of Communist China was
allowed to appear before the United Nations to discuss the Unified
Command's special report on Communist China's intervention in
Korea. But the representative, Gen. Wu Hsiu-Chuan, would not
discuss the problem of Chinese Communist activities in Korea.
Under the prodding of the Soviet Delegation, General Wu was con-
cerned only with having the United Nations condemn "United States
aggression in China and Korea," and "American invasion in
Meantime the Chinese Communists were pouring more and more
men onto the battlefields of Korea. The U.N. Command's reports
put the estimated number of Chinese Communist forces as high as
400,000 men. U.N. troops continued their withdrawals to a stable
battleline where their superior fire power would offset the numerical
superiority of Chinese Communist manpower.
Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Great Britain made a hurried
trip to Washington on December 4 to consult with President Truman.
Their views were expressed in a joint statement, which read in part:
"We are in complete agreement that there can be no thought
of appeasement or of rewarding aggression. . . .
"For our part we are ready, as we have always been, to seek an
end to the hostilities by means of negotiation. The same principles
of international conduct should be applied to this situation as are
applied, in accordance with our obligations under the Charter of
the United Nations, to any threat to world peace. . . ."
AS the end of 1950 approached, 13 Arab-Asian
nations* introduced a new resolution. This called for the President
of the General Assembly to appoint a Committee of Three, including
himself, to map out a basis for a satisfactory cease-fire order in
Korea and make its recommendations to the General Assembly.
This resolution was approved by the General Assembly on Decem-
* Afghanistan, Burma, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon,
Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.
The Committee of Three immediately went to work. They came
up with a list of principles :
All fighting in all of Korea to stop
A demilitarized area, following the general line of the 38th
parallel, to be established
Forces to remain in position or withdraw to the rear
Prisoners of war to be exchanged
Provisions to be made for the security of forces, the movement
of refugees, etc.
Supervision of the cease-fire to be directed by a U.N. Commis-
sion, which should have access to all of Korea
This basis for the cease-fire discussion seemed fair and reasonable
to the Committee of Three, and it was acceptable to the Unified
Command. But the Chinese Communist authorities in Peiping
turned it down. Reasons? There were two, it seems.
First, Peiping said, it had repeatedly declared that it would re-
gard as illegal and null and void any U.N. resolution which might
be "adopted by the United Nations without the participation and ap-
proval of its own representative."
Second, the United Nations had not voted favorably on the "com-
plaint against the United States armed aggression against Taiwan
(Formosa)" and the "complaint of the U.S. aggression against
China. . . ."
This turn-down came in response not to any U.N. order or fixed
rules but merely to a statement to be used as a "basis for discussion"
to effect a cease-fire.
Meantime the armed forces of Communist China were swooping
down on Seoul and a few days later occupied it. Among some
U.N. members the cease-fire idea persisted. The United States
was dubious that any honorable cease-fire arrangements could be
worked out with Communist China. Other nations had other ideas.
So in mid-January the cease-fire group presented a supplementary
report containing five principles for the achievement by stages of
a settlement of Far Eastern problems. The First Committee of the
General Assembly approved these principles on January 13, 1951,
and invited the chairman of that Committee to transmit the principles
to the Peiping authorities.
The statement of principles called for an immediate cease-fire
with safeguards; the withdrawal by stages of all non-Korean forces
from the country; democratic elections according to U.N. principles;
appropriate interim arrangements for the administration of Korea;
and, as soon as agreement was reached on a cease-fire, the setting
up by the General Assembly of an appropriate body, including
among others, representatives of the United States, the U.S.S.R.,
the United Kingdom, and Communist China, with a view to reaching
a settlement of Far Eastern problems. The United States, despite
its skepticism over this latest proposal, nevertheless voted for it.
The reasons were summed up by the Secretary of State :
"It [the cease-fire proposal] had the support of the overwhelming
majority of the U.N. members. This support was founded on two
principal attitudes. One was the belief of many members that the
Chinese Communists might still be prevailed upon to cease their
defiance of the United Nations. While we did not share this belief,
we recognized that it was sincerely held by many members.
"The second attitude was that, even though there might be little
prospect of success in the approach to Peiping, the United Nations
should leave no stone unturned in its efforts to find a peaceful solu-
tion. Holders of each view believed and stated to us that opposition
or abstention by the United States would destroy any possibility of
success which the proposal might have.
"Peaceful settlement is one of the cardinal purposes of the United
Nations. The resort to force in Korea came from the North Koreans
first and the Chinese Communists second. The United Nations has
constantly demanded that this should end and that the United Nations
objectives should be attained by peaceful means — we have stood
and still stand for this position. Also it has been our goal to so
act as to maintain the unity of the free nations against aggression
which has marked the United Nations actions in Korea. Accord-
ingly, we voted for the resolution to demonstrate our adherence to
these basic principles even though we did not share the beliefs of
other members . . . that it would achieve its purposes."
To the Soviet Union the U.N. cease-fire proposals were "nebu-
lous," and Communist China just bluntly turned them down. Instead
of the cease-fire principles the Chinese Communists — and the
Soviets — would negotiate first, then talk about cease-fire, and this
only after the Chinese Communists were seated in U.N. councils.
The Communist position was, to the great majority of the members
of the United Nations, too much like blackmail, too much like an
open invitation to an aggressor to start a conflict and then negotiate
to stop it — on his terms.
the aggressor named
IT was at this stage of the conflict that the U.S.
Delegation led the move to name Communist China an aggressor.
The United States thought it should have been done earlier but had
deferred to other U.N. members who were hesitant to take this step,
although they had no doubt that Communist China was an aggressor.
Again a small group of U.N. members honestly feared such a move
would have damaging repercussions in the Far East. But the over-
whelming majority of the United Nations agreed with the U.S.
delegate that "The time to draw the line is now."
Thus, on February 1, 1951, the United Nations passed a resolution
"Noting that the Central People's Government of the People's
Republic of China has not accepted United Nations proposals to
bring about a cessation of hostilities in Korea with a view to peaceful
settlement, and that its armed forces continue their invasion of Korea
and their large-scale attacks upon United Nations forces there;
"Finds that the Central People's Government of the People's
Republic of China, by giving direct aid and assistance to those
who were already committing aggression in Korea and by engaging
in hostilities against United Nations forces there, has itself engaged
in aggression in Korea. . . ."
In the same resolution, the United Nations repeated its position
that "the policy of the United Nations [is] to bring about a cessation
of hostilities in Korea by peaceful means." To this end, a Good
Offices Committee was formed for any honorable approach the
Chinese Communists might want to make.
The Chinese Communists' answer was to call the U.N. resolution
"an utter perversion of the truth" and to declare the resolution null
and void. Furthermore, Peiping would have nothing to do with
the "illegal" Good Offices Committee.
Later, on May 18, 1951, the United Nations adopted a new
weapon against the aggressors — an embargo on the shipment of
arms and war materials to Communist China and Communist-domi-
nated North Korea. The Soviet Union, of course, opposed this
embargo. And even though the Soviet Union is the main source
of the Chinese Communists' war equipment and materials, such an
embargo, already put into effect by the United States, can be a
serious blow to the aggressors if fully applied by other nations.
Meantime 15 other nations have landed troops on the peninsula
of Korea to fight alongside U.S. and South Korean forces: Australia,
Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey,
the Union of South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
How well these troops, from 17 different nations, have come to-
gether to fight a common aggressor was summed up by U. S. Secretary
of Defense George C. Marshall on his return from a visit to the
battlefront in early June 1951. General Marshall said that he was
much impressed with the complete amalgamation of the various
United Nations units fighting in Korea into an integrated, coordinated
U. S. and U. N. objectives
THE first year of the Korea conflict is now at
an end. What has the U.N. accomplished during this year? Has
this collective action been worth the sacrifices? What is gained by
the policy of meeting the aggressor firmly, while at the same time
trying to localize the conflict?
On April 11, 1951, President Truman once again voiced U.S. and
U.N. objectives with these words :
"The question we have had to face is whether the Communist plan
of conquest can be stopped without general war. Our Government
and other countries associated with us in the United Nations believe
that the best chance of stopping it without general war is to meet
the attack in Korea and defeat it there. . . .
"So far, by fighting a limited war in Korea, we have prevented
aggression from succeeding and bringing on a general war. And
the ability of the whole free world to resist Communist aggression
has been greatly improved. . . .
"In the meantime, I want to be clear about our military objective.
We are fighting to resist an outrageous aggression in Korea. We
are trying to keep the Korean conflict from spreading to other
areas. . . .
"That is our military objective — to repel attack and to restore
In some ways the limited-war concept is a new one. Its newness
may account for the fact that many people have been honestly baffled
by it. It becomes plain, however, if one remembers that the United
Nations went into Korea to protect a free, independent nation from
aggression. The U.N. idea was to stop that aggression and restore
This is the heart of the U.N. policy.
For over a year the United Nations has struggled to put down
an aggression, to keep it from spreading into a disastrous world
war. If despite this effort war comes, it will be because the Com-
munist rulers, as President Truman said, "want it to come."
"But this Nation and its allies," the President has said, "will not
be responsible for its coming. We do not want to widen the conflict.
We will use every effort to prevent that disaster. And in so doing
we know that we are following the great principles of peace, freedom,
When its objectives in Korea have been achieved, the United
Nations believes a monumental example will have been set to deter
any other would-be aggressor. An extension of the Korean conflict
would take the United Nations far afield of its objectives and might
make all efforts to achieve a just settlement of the conflict, as it now
stands, all but impossible. Worse, an extension of the conflict
might bring on World War III.
Ambassador Austin, in a speech on April 30, 1951, summed up
U.N. aims in Korea with these two sentences:
"Militarily, the objective is to repel the aggression and restore
international peace and security in the area.
"Politically, the objective is to establish a unified, independent
and democratic government in the sovereign state of Korea."
The United Nations is determined that these objectives must and
will be achieved. This fateful year of the Korean conflict has
already brought forth a notable list of accomplishments. In the
same April 30 speech, Ambassador Austin outlined them thus :
"The Korean conflict has unmasked the Soviet's phony world-wide
"It has exposed the Soviet designs for conquest on the installment
"It has upset the Soviet timetable for new conquests on the Korean
"The Korean conflict has rallied the first collective force and
action behind United Nations principles.
"It has stimulated the United Nations to develop new machinery
and better methods for meeting future threats.
"It has brought the free world to a new peak of unity in the
"But, most important of all:
"The Korean conflict has alerted people all over the world to
the imminent dangers of Soviet aggression.
"It has strengthened the will of nations to stand together and
"It has aroused the free peoples to the necessity of mobilizing their
strength for defense, and may thus have saved civilization. . . ."
These words took on an extra meaning in July 1951 as repre-
sentatives of the Unified Command met with Communist Chinese and
North Korean military spokesmen to discuss terms for an armistice.
S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1951